Root canals are one of the most feared treatments in the dental field. Almost everyone has heard a horror story or is otherwise convinced that root canals are a last resort option. Fortunately, most of these are myths. Thanks to today's technology, there are many advances in dentistry that allow you to undergo a comfortable experience even when having a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is the process of cleaning out the infected nerves (pulp) from a dead or dying tooth, allowing you to keep the tooth and hence retain the structure of your bone while being freed from any pain or irritation associated with that tooth.
There are many symptoms that are indicative of when a root canal is needed, which vary from person to person. The most common indication of a dying tooth is an abscess at the apex of the root. Abscesses can only be detected with an x-ray. In the absence of an abscess, there are other tests that can be done to determine whether a root canal is needed to eliminate pain in a tooth.
Root Canal Procedures
Performing a root canal is the most tedious of all dental procedures, and therefore may require a longer dental appointment. However, since dentists always use local anesthetic to numb the area, pain is eliminated throughout the procedure (alternative sedation options are available for those with additional concerns). Antibiotics are generally given to patients either before or after the procedure to facilitate the healing process.
Once the nerve of the tooth is removed, the overall structure of the tooth is weakened, much like the shell of a hollow egg. It is important to have a crown placed over a tooth soon after it is treated with a root canal to protect the tooth structure and keep it from splitting or fracturing.